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December 8, 2022

After decades of erosion, Camp Ellis could get $45M to save homes and beach

Alexis Wells Erosion issues at Camp Ellis could be remedied with federal funding secured by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

Critical funding to stop the severe beach erosion at Camp Ellis in Saco could be on its way. The jetty — which is more than 150 years old — has been a major problem for years, and plans are in the works to remedy the situation.

Alexis Wells
Camp Ellis

Camp Ellis could be authorized $45 million for a permanent solution to the ongoing erosion problem; the secured funds are through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the annual defense spending authorization bill that sets our military’s priorities and policies.

“On behalf of the city of Saco, we are extremely elated with the language included in the NDAA regarding Camp Ellis,” said Saco Mayor Bill Doyle. “Our community continues to be challenged with ongoing costs associated with storms affecting Camp Ellis.”

Alexis Wells
Camp Ellis jetty.

The provision would ensure that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has the funding necessary to construct a 750-foot spur jetty off the existing jetty and replenish 365,000 cubic yards of beachfront. The goal is to reduce beach erosion and save the homes that remain. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built the original jetty from the Saco River adjacent to Camp Ellis Beach in the 1800s and expanded it in the 1950s. This jetty altered the pattern of currents, and sand deposition is the primary cause of the severe erosion of Camp Ellis. According to officials, this problem has washed away 38 homes. Between 1908 and 1998, the shoreline was eroded by 400 feet. 

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, helped secure the funding for the project. If the bill passes the House this week, it’s expected to be voted on in the Senate next week.

“For generations, the residents of Camp Ellis and the city of Saco have had to contend with a relentlessly receding shoreline that has claimed dozens of homes,” said Collins. “The devastating erosion impacting this community was caused by the jetty constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers more than 150 years ago at the mouth of the Saco River. It is long past time to rectify this mistake. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I worked to secure this investment that would finally help resolve this problem, protect property, and permanently restore the beachfront.”


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